Live from China: Coverage of the Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

Printer-friendly version
Mendy Smith

Viola Rock

June 21, 2010 at 3:30 AM

Earlier this week, I got an e-mail.  The rehearsal venue for the "Pet Sounds" concert was changed.  I didn't think anything about it and simply wrote down the new address.  I punched in the address into my car's nav system this afternoon and followed her directions. 

Turn by turn I became a bit more nervous.  When I was told that I had "arrived at my destination" I did a double take.  I doubled checked the address against what I wrote down to the building number.  Yes, this was indeed the rehearsal spot that afternoon.

The rehearsal location was at a bar in the seedier side of town.  My stand-partner-in-crime and I poked our heads in the door with trepidation and was greeted by the owner with a smile and welcome.  We sauntered up to the bar and placed our cases on said bar, took out our instruments and began tuning.  Within a few minutes, the bar was filled with 40 other musicians, ranging from violinists, cellists, violists, bassists, clarinets, oboes, flutes, saxiphones, trumpet, trombones, and even a timpanist.  The bar top was filled with instrument cases of various sorts.  There was little light other than what seeped in from the street-side windows. We gathered our bar stools close to those windows, setup shop and began to tune. 

It was quite a sight to see so many classically trained musicians perched on bar stools warming up with various pieces ranging from Bach to Sousa and then plunging head first into the melodies of the Beach Boys.  Every entrance, tempo and dynamic change, bowing decision and vamp was taken as seriously as a Mahler rehearsal.  Nearly four hours later, rehearsals finally came to an end when the bar had to open for its normal business. 

While this was the oddest venue for a rehearsal that I've ever had, it was one of the most productive and fun ones.


From Elinor Estepa
Posted on June 21, 2010 at 10:25 PM

geez, Mendy, not only the viola rocks, so do you!  love all your blogs..keep on rockin'!

Congrats!


From Mendy Smith
Posted on June 22, 2010 at 2:37 AM

Elinor,

Glad that you are enjoying the blogs.  Sometimes I think we take ourselves all to seriously and need the break from "serious" music. 

However now I'm facing a difficult decision - what to wear?  Definitely NOT concert black!  I think I have a Hawaiian shirt hiding somewhere in the closet.


From Ray Randall
Posted on June 22, 2010 at 3:00 AM

As they say, musicians staggering from bar to bar. Now it's bar to bar in a bar. Bar none. Bet you were playing Samuel Barber also. My head is starting to ache.


From Kim Vawter
Posted on June 22, 2010 at 3:40 AM

 Mendy, On the cover of "Pet Sounds" the Beach Boys appear to be wearing oxford shirts, buttoned down(?) and brown vests or jackets. Also there are a lot of goats. Not sure what part of this album cover will help you in your dress selection. I do remember that the Beach Boys were always clean cut fellows. They wore white slacks  a lot and the ever popular "Hawaiian Shirts." So you can't go wrong. Enjoyed your blog. Have fun!

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Our Kokopelli
Please support Violinist.com
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign.

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition

Wilison & Co.

The Potter Violin Company

Gliga Violins USA

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Corilon Violins

Snow Stringed Instruments

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Violin Lab

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Violinist.com Interviews, Volume 1